Re: That's not what DAT looks like
According to the original news sources, it was, in fact, "Journey’s musical cassette tape." As in, not a DAT tape. The illustrative photograph is correct, but the Reg article is not.
An entire block was shut down around the Duke Energy building in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday after mail room staff reported "a small manila envelope handwritten and addressed from out of state" to police. The workers were right to be concerned. Further investigation by a bomb squad revealed the package to …
> I'd guess that most cars on the road have a tape player.
The article says it was a DAT tape. Car tape players play normal tapes, not DAT tapes. DAT has a different physical form factor and stores the music digitally - it's a Digital Audio Tape.
I wouldn't bet much on that. My car was built 20 years ago and while admittedly it did come with a tape player 20 years ago pretty much the first thing I did with the car was to rip the tape player out and substitute it with a modern 2din touchscreen radio/mp3/cd/dvd/satnav android device which gives the same functionality as people buy new cars for.
Not any cars made this century. I'd be surprised to even see a CD player in anything made in the last couple of years.
My current car, and pretty much all previous ones (at least ones that still had original factory installed audio) have all been equipped with radio/cassette.And in some cases also with cd-changer. Even with factory sat-nav and tv (analogue). Now if I could only find any of the old cassettes I used to have, but some things as best forgotten I think. Yes, current and several previous have been made this century.
There's a whole vintage and retro thing that's making cassettes desirable among people in the late teens / early 20s. Recently played a gig where the millenials in the support band were very proud of their four track cassete deck (some ancient Portastudio thingy). Chatted to them about it, and found out that reel to reel machines are even more desirable. Time to dust off my trusty Revox B77...
The actions of the authorities seems troubling... They're called to a potential bomb scene. Pick up the "bomb" and take to be x-rayed. Look at the x-ray. Take "bomb" to open field. Tie rope to "bomb" and give it a good pull.
Seems weird this day and age. Seems more likely they'd check in situ and determine if it can be moved.
I doubt the article gave an exact description. They can check for RF emissions or bomb residue with meters and dogs, if neither of those hit they're probably safe from bombs and just do the Xray/tug test as a matter of procedure in case it is something else like anthrax (not Anthrax, only a truly sadistic terrorist would send one of their cassettes through the mail)
What does a cassette mass? What is the energy density of TNT? A package containing a cassette (analog or DAT) is not going to mass enough to be an explosive of much strength. There would also be some of that mass that would be needed to trigger any sort of explosion which leaves even less margin for an energetic material. An easy check on whether it would be a concern or not would be to contact the person that it was addressed to and see if they were expecting a package.
That the package had a handwritten label is also something that should point to a non-terrorist package. The recent fake bombs were sent with machine printed labels. If the most damaged crazies know that hand writing the info should be avoided, it's unlikely that a hand addressed package is of much concern.
Could the package have contained a poison/toxin/biohazard? Yep and a very small charge could disperse it over a whole office PDQ. At some point paranoia and trying to guard against every sort of bad thing that could happen can only lead to suicide. Somebody could break into your house and spray a teflon infused oil in your shower so you slip and injure yourself. Does this mean that you should check all your bathroom surfaces carefully every day just in case?
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